HBase’s Failure To Catch On

Kevin Feasel



Matt Asay has an interesting article on how HBase started as a big thing but has fizzled since:

Ex-Googler (and current Amazon Web Services employee) Tim Bray argues “there is a real cost to this continuous widening of the base of knowledge a developer has to have to remain relevant.” RedMonk analyst Stephen O’Grady takes this a step further: “It could be that we’re approaching the too-much-of-a-good-thing stage. In which case, the logical outcome will be a gradual slowing of fragmentation followed by gradual consolidation.”

In other words, niche data stores that do one thing really well are giving way to more generally applicable databases that can serve a broader range of enterprise needs.

The second part of Keep’s sentence above, however, spells out another reason HBase is struggling: It’s really hard to use.

I have a statement which is 90% serious and 10% joke:  a database product is truly mature once it supports SQL.  So what’s the answer for HBase?  The current attempt at an answer is Phoenix, which is…SQL for HBase.

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